Before letting your teen get behind the wheel to drive home from prom or that graduation party, consider these statistics from the Insurance Information Institute:
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year olds.
- 31% ofÂ drivers age 15 to 20 who were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2007 had been drinking some amount of alcohol; 26 percent were alcohol-impaired, which is defined by a blood alcohol content of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher.
- Teens are involved in more motor vehicle crashes late in the day and at night than at other times of the day.
- Teens have a greater chance of getting involved in an accident if other teens are present in the vehicle.
Scary, right The good news is that these deaths are declining, thanks in large part to graduated drivers licensing that restricts when and with whom teenagers can drive.
The Insurance Information Institute has a video on proms/drinking and driving as well as tips on the safest cars for teens. CLICK HERE for that page of information.
The best advice? Talk to your teen about making prom night safe. Here are some tips from Gary Direnfeld, developer of the I Promise Program - teen safe driving initiative:
1. Check your brakes and brake fluid. Teens speed the most. While teens are interested in how fast the car can go, parents should be interested in how well the car can stop. Make sure your vehicle is in its best mechanical shape if your teen is taking to the wheel.
2. Limit the number of passengers your teen is allowed to transport. The risk of a car crash goes up exponentially for each passenger added.
3. Insist that your teen and all passengers wear their seat belts and again, lead by example.
4. Do not allow your teen to drive after midnight. If transportation is required after midnight, make alternate arrangements. Act as chauffeur, car pool with another parent or arrange for a taxi. It is better that the parent loses one night’s sleep than the life of their child.
â€œRemember, the Prom is but one night a year. To be really safe, parents must concern themselves with teen driver safety 365 days a year. Even with Prom night occurring in the spring, most fatal car crashes actually occur in the summertime. Safe driving doesn’t take a holiday,â€ Direnfeld writes on his Web site.
Once you’ve had the important talk, check out my columns on money-saving tips on auto insurance: